Edible Mushrooms

Agaricus bisporus

isms-WhiteAlso known as ‘the white cultivated mushroom’, ‘champignon de Paris’. Agaricus bisporus is grown on composted cereal straw and animal manure. This cultivation is usually in buildings where the environment (temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide) is controlled. The major regions of cultivation are Europe, North America, China and Australasia. Agaricus bisporus is the most extensively cultivated mushroom in the world, accounting for 38% of the world production of cultivated mushrooms.

Coprinus comatus

isms-shaggy-maneCoprinus comatus is an edible basidiomycete with a growth habit similar to agarics. It is commonly found in temperate climates in the northern hemisphere and prefers to grow on rich decomposed substrates. Fruit bodies tend to appear in clusters. It is commercially cultivated in China and by amateurs all over the world. A unique feature of the species is the fast maturation of fruit bodies. After producing spores the gills rapidly turn into a black, ink like liquid as they continue to mature. The short shelf life of this mushroom means that it has to be consumed within few hours after harvesting or immediately canned. It is also known as the Shaggy Ink Cap.

Flammulina velutipes

isms-EnokiThe ‘winter mushroom’. This fungus can be found growing wild in China, Siberia, Asia Minor, Europe, Africa, North America, Australia and Japan living on both dead and living wood of broad leaf trees such as aspens, willows and elms. Although this mushroom is gathered from the wild, it is also now cultivated particularly in Japan. The growth substrate is a mixture of sawdust and rice bran which are mixed, wetted, autoclaved and filled into polypropylene bottles. The growth temperature is manipulated to produce high quality mushrooms.

Lentinus edodes

isms-ShiitakeAlso known as ‘shiitake’, ‘oak mushroom’. Lentinus edodes is grown usually on logs of oak outdoors in forests. Environmental manipulation of the crop is achieved by heavy watering, shading or positioning the logs in areas of different microclimate. The cropping period is 3 to 5 years. A more intensive cultivation technique has recently been developed involving growth on synthetic logs mainly sawdust and other agricultural wastes.Lentinus edodes is largely produced in Japan, China and South Korea. Lentinus edodes accounts for 10% of world production of cultivated mushrooms.

Mycorrhizal Edible Fungi

Mycorrhizal-Edible-FungiA number of edible fungi are found in nature growing in association with living plants, usually trees. Although for some of these fungi the mycelium can be grown on defined nutrient media or on compost, fruitbodies (i.e. the multicellular organs normally identified as mushrooms) are only produced when grown in tight association with trees. These fungi cannot therefore be cultivated in the conventional sense but their growth can be encouraged by planting trees which have roots deliberately infected by then appropriate fungus. The mycorrhizal edible mushrooms are often highly prized for their unique flavours and texture, and because of their uncertain supply (not cultivated but collected from nature) they often command very high prices.

Pleurotus species

isms-OysterThe ‘oyster mushroom’. A number of different species are grown including, Pleurotus ostreatus, Pleurotus sajor-caju, Pleurotus cystidus, Pleurotus cystidus, Pleurotus citrinopileatus and Pleurotus flabellatus. This mushroom is cultivated on a wide range of plant wastes (cereal straw, sawdust, bagasse, waste cotton) often enclosed by plastic bags. Mushroom production is light dependent. Some growers operate a 12 hour light cycle using fluorescent lamps. Pleurotus mushrooms are the second most important mushrooms in production in the world, 25% of total world production of cultivated mushrooms. Pleurotus mushrooms are world-wide, China is the major producer.

The Morel

isms-morel-1Morchella esculenta, Morchella elata, Morchella vulgaris
Morels belong to the ascomycete grouping of fungi. They are usually found in open scrub, woodland or open ground in late spring. When collecting this fungus, care must be taken to distinguish it from the deadly-poisonous ‘false morel’, Gyromitra esculenta.

The Truffle

isms-truffleTuber magnatum (Piemont white truffle), Tuber aestivum (Summer or St.Jean truffle), Tuber melanosporum(Perigord truffle), Tuber brumale.
Truffles belong to the ascomycete grouping of fungi. The truffle fruitbodies develop underground in mycorrhizal association with certain trees e.g.oak, poplar, beech, and hazel.

Volvariella volvacea

Volvariella-volvacea-Paddy-StrawThe ‘chinese’ or ‘paddy straw’ mushroom. Volvariella volvacea is a high temperature mushroom grown largely in tropical and subtropical regions of Asia e.g. China, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Madagascar. This mushroom can be grown on a variety of agricultural wastes e.g. paddy straw, water hyacinth, oil palm, banana, cotton or wood waste. Mushroom production is encouraged by heavy watering, temperature reduction and light.Volvariella mushrooms account for 16% of total production of cultivated mushrooms in the world.